12 Ways to Save Water During the Drought

If you are picturing the Hollywood version of California as a land of eternal sunshine and laid back folks in summer clothing year-round, you pretty much have the correct image of what is currently happening, weather-wise in the Golden State. But this is decidedly NOT the way it should be in mid-February. It should feel like winter, where those of us in “NorCal” are supposed to be inundated with month-long rain events that force us to tuck our long pants into cute rain boots.

California as a whole has been experiencing a significant dry spell for the last three years. Last year marked the driest conditions in the 119 years of California’s water records, surpassing the severe drought years of 1976 and 1932. Despite the few inches rains we enjoyed a few weeks ago, the dry spell marches on.

In the face of this drought of epic proportions, water managers throughout the state are taking a proactive approach to ensure that the conservation of already diminishing water reserves will begin sooner rather than later. It is important to act proactively now in order to plan ahead for scenarios where conditions may worsen, and you don’t necessarily need to be a paid professional to do your part.

What You Can Do

You can make simple changes to your water use in order to make big impact as well, because every little act done to conserve water matters. You don’t have to be a Californian either. Water is a resource that runs throughout the world, so every drop counts. Here is a compilation of some simple tips for using water more wisely from our friends at Surfrider and Practically Green:

  1. Know where your water comes from by searching the official websites for the area you live in and find out if you are in a critical area.
  2. Read your water bill to identify how you use water and where you can make reductions.
  3. Practice low-impact landscaping by investing in landscapes that use less water such as drought tolerant plants or native plants that respond appropriately to the climate where you live. You can also water your lawn less frequently (or not at all) and only at night because plants absorb water more efficiently in cooler temperatures
  4. Sweep, don’t spray by using a broom and not water to maintain driveways and sidewalks.
  5. Upgrade and invest in more water efficient appliances (washers, dishwashers, showerheads, toilets, spray nozzles for hoses, etc.)
  6. Flush less, you know the saying. “If it’s yellow…”
  7. Collect the water that runs while you wait for the shower to heat up and use it for other purposes like washing cars, watering lawns, etc.
  8. Better yet, take shorter showers.
  9. Turn off the faucet when lathering with soap, brushing teeth, or when you aren’t using the water to rinse something.
  10. Do full loads of laundry and dishes to be more efficient.
  11. Check for and fix leaks to prevent unwanted water loss.
  12. Play a water-savings game on your smart phone as demonstrated in this article by Grist

-Sabrina Sihakom, Sustainability Coordinator